Stories We Tell Ourselves

Emii Alrai, Passing of the Lilies (detail), Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Arts, London. 2021. Photography courtesy of Anna Arca.

Stories We Tell Ourselves
Aseel AlYaqoub, Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Emii Alrai

Curated by Matthew Kyba

January 19 – March 18, 2023
McIntosh Gallery, London ON

This group exhibition, conceptualized by guest curator Matthew Kyba, questions how the museum’s history as a colonial tool for Western pedagogy influences the stories we tell. To elucidate the unseen politics within the display systems and political agendas of cultural institutions, the four featured artists/artist duos appropriate various museological practices—collection, didactics, video, sculpture, presentation techniques and artifacts—to self-referentially question how such institutions dictate politicized stories. Stories We Tell Ourselves undermines the museum’s colonial past and current pedagogy by probing how these settings shape public opinion and social understanding of different histories and contemporary conditions.

About the artists:

Aseel AlYaqoub’s research-based and interdisciplinary practice ranges from drawing and printmaking to video, sculpture and installation. Various visual languages characterise her work, which is defined by her inquisitorial and academic approach that travels across the fields of history, architecture, and cultural sociology. Her explorations revolve around the inherited methodologies used for nation-building, the role of state apparatuses in defining nationhood, and the nation’s processes for self-identification after imperial dissolution and reattachment.

The interdisciplinary practice of Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten aims to create community-based models of participation and knowledge production in order to re-imagine a material record of the present. They investigate tactics of representation and enlist the tools of installation, photography, documentary filmmaking, writing, and the methods of anthropology to explore various forms of collecting, interpreting, and display. The result is often a collaborative work which counterbalances how dominant institutions speak about our lives: a counter-archive, new additions to a museum collection, or a buried history made visible.

Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn is a visual artist using archives and a broad range of media including, but not exclusively, photography, film, video, sound and printmaking to investigate issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics and multiculturalism via feminist theories. Currently based in Stockholm, she is a PhD candidate in the ‘Art, Technology and Design’ program at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Nguyễn previously completed the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, in 2011, having obtained her MFA and a post-graduate diploma in Critical Studies from the Malmö Art Academy in 2005, and a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, in 2003.

Emii Alrai is an artist and sometimes writer whose work spans material investigation in relation to memory, critique of the western museological structure and the complexity of ruins. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, Alrai’s work operates as large-scale realms built in relation to bodies of research which start with archaeology and the natural environments objects are excavated from. Weaving in social memory, oral histories, inherited nostalgia and the details of language, the practice questions the rigidity of Empire, the power of hierarchy and interpolates the static presence of history.

About the curator:

Matthew Kyba was born Toronto, Ontario (1991) and is the current Curator at The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Columbus, Ohio. Recent exhibitions have been shown across Canada and the USA. He enjoys walks with his dog Rico.

Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten, The Museum Visits a Therapist (still), 2021.

Related Programming:

Virtual Panel Discussion
Thursday, February 9 at 7PM EST

Join us for a virtual panel discussion featuring the artists of Stories We Tell Ourselves, presented in partnership with Western University’s Department of Visual Arts’ Art Now! Speakers’ Series. Moderated by exhibition curator Matthew Kyba, participating panelists will discuss their work in relation to the issues addressed in this exhibition as well as within the context of their broader studio practices.

Registration required:

McIntosh Gallery
1151 Richmond Street N.
London, ON, N6A 3K7
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @McIntoshGallery

Monday to Friday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Saturday: 12 PM – 4 PM
McIntosh Gallery offers free admission to all exhibitions
We regret that McIntosh Gallery is not wheelchair accessible